If you’re expecting a story about sportsmanship, athleticism, camaraderie, and community, you won’t get a lot of that in We Are Newcastle United, a docuseries that is more interested in business than in football. It begins with the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s takeover of the club, reportedly the most expensive purchase in the football world, and firmly stays in that angle throughout the series. Never mind that Newcastle United has a formidable set of players, a loyal community of fans, and one of the most inspiring underdog journeys in football history—the documentary only touches on those rich topics. Instead, its main focus is the PIF and the technical details of their ownership. How much did they spend to secure the top players? What does the Saudi state hope to gain out of this acquisition? Is Newcastle United complicit in Saudi Arabia’s alleged breach of human rights? We Are Newcastle United has some insightful takes, but for the filmmakers to bill it as a sports feature feels like false advertising. Like the club’s owners, they put financials first before football, not the other way around.
Actor: Alan Shearer, Amanda Staveley, Callum Wilson, Eddie Howe, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, Yasir Al Rumayyan
Director: Jack Wood